I’m The Crypt Keeper…No, Really!

Just a sec, Indy, I can’t get this Social Security entry to balance.

I’m never going to move to Paris. 

It just hit me that I’ll never live in a garret in Montmartre, spending my days painting and my nights discussing Existentialism over wine and croissant.   The chances were always slim.  If you haven’t run away from home by age 52, it probably isn’t going to happen.  But at least there was a possibility.  No more. 

I’m going to be stuck in this small, midwestern town until I shrivel up and die.

What was the last nail in the coffin of my dreams?

Meet the new treasurer of the church cemetery board.

The treasurer of the church cemetery board cannot be hot – unthinkable!  She cannot be glamorous or exotic – perish the thought!  She cannot be scintillating, fiendishly clever or risqué – heaven forbid!  No, the person who allows herself to be bamboozled into this position is a worthy sort.  This woman has cast off girlish dreams of fame and fortune, and has settled for the slightly lesser glory of having the best Chicken Tetrazzini recipe in the parish (the secret is whisking butter into the sauce at the last minute.)

She’s the Church Lady, clad in orthopedic shoes, cardigan sweater and righteousness. 

“How did they trap you?” You ask. “Did they promise riches?  Was it blackmail?”

They played the cruelest trick of all.  Somebody asked me.  To my face!  How could I say no?  I have no excuse, and they know it.  I can just imagine how this came about.

I’ve always tried to keep a low profile in church.  I keep my head down, don’t sing too loudly and just go with the flow.  That way nobody tags me to join the choir, teach kids their psalms, or head up some fund raising committee.  After all, I work full time and I have 2 kids – c’mon, I’m busy!  This technique has worked fine for me.  Until now.

It seems I underestimated our cagey pastor.  He probably had me on his mental reserve list, waiting in the bullpen until the time was right to call me up.  I can practically see the moment his eagle eye, descending from the pulpit mid-sermon, happened upon my slightly glazed-over, slack-jawed face in the pew below.  It hit him: empty nester.  Bingo!

“The girls are up and out; it’s just Peg and Bill now.   She’s in business so she probably knows about paying bills and taxes and such.  And she’s doing squat for this church besides taking up space.” Father sicced his minions on me.

Nobody has to tell me that this is a life sentence.  This kind of gig makes a Supreme Court appointment look like a temp job.   The only way out is death.

It’s like that Indiana Jones movie where they find the Holy Grail.  An ancient knight had been guarding it for 500 years.  He was just waiting until his replacement showed up so he could hand off the chalice, turn into a dusty skeleton and blow away.

That will be me.

At the changing of the guard ceremony, the current Knight Templar will give me the checkbook and quill, then her face will dissolve and turn to dust.  I will kneel in her place, guarding the cemetery’s finances for all of eternity.  Unless I luck out and turn senile before then.   Then it will be my turn to choose my successor and pass on the responsibility. 

I should look on the bright side; being on the cemetery committee does have its perks.  I’ll get a discount on a prime gravesite.  After all, when I retire from this job they’ll need someplace to bury my chain mail.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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59 Responses to I’m The Crypt Keeper…No, Really!

  1. Your writing is skilled and has a delightfully humorous and whimsical style, and you are always a fun read.

    Tell your pastor that you had an revelation recently in which you discovered that God has chosen you to promote a new faith in which Christianity is married in a union with Buddhism. Show him photo-shopped images of ideas you have, for memorials to deceased Church members, with the Buddha meditating in the lotus position, while wearing a large Christian cross around his neck.

    Take a page from the Mormon’s playbook and tell him that in your new position, that you intend to perform conversion rituals for those who have passed on, to make them Christian Buddhists, so that they may not only have eternal life, but attain a perfect state of Nirvana as well. Also tell your pastor that you intend to blog extensively about your new faith, and how supportive he and his congregation have been of you, as you pursue your new direction.

    Sure you might get excommunicated and ostracized, but at this point you have nothing to lose, except all your free time to do what you really enjoy doing. And at least no one will accuse of of being a slacker…


  2. Another great post to start my day with a big grin and a chuckle! Thanks PoL!!


  3. Just make sure you are honest and don’t get carried away with your power. Otherwise, we’ll be reading an expose that screams “Coffins to Coffers!” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)


  4. I think Chris said it all in the commenting department. All I can say, is “God bless you” …not in a sneezing sort of way either. Oh goodness (gasping for breath), you have me laughing out the door and probably all the way down the freeway to school. This is the funniest thing I have read in a while.


  5. “Somebody asked me.To my face!”
    The nerve! Then you spend the next few hours playing the “shoulda said this!” in your head. Or maybe that’s just me. Great post, Church Lady! I am still laughing as I type this…


    • pegoleg says:

      I know, right? If they send you a letter or leave a voice mail you’ve got time to come up with an excuse. Note to self: come up with a really good invisible, dread disease to have ready for next unexpected imposition.


  6. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Wow, that trumps my appointment to the local Parks & Rec. committee. I’m sure you’ll wield the cemetery checkbook with flair ; )


    • pegoleg says:

      I went to my first meeting the other night and they didn’t let me anywhere near the checkbook. I think I’m going to have to work my way up to that.

      Since you’re a committee veteran do you have any words of advice for the novice? Like how to make sure the next meeting doesn’t run almost 2-1/2 hours?


      • bigsheepcommunications says:

        2-1/2 hours! That’s criminal. Fortunately, our meetings are scheduled during lunch, so everyone has to scurry back to work after an hour. Very effective.


  7. Oh, I don’t know, Peg…
    I think there’s something about being asked that’s… just… well, it’s… kind of…


  8. At least you’ll know you’re going to a nice grave when you finally escape this job. If not, you’ll apparently only have yourself to blame. I see potential for scandal here. Find a way to funnel some funds into your final resting place so you can be buried like the pharoahs in your very own pyramid.


  9. People still use checkbooks? Or is it more of a login and password?

    Either way, remember that WIth great power comes great responsibility.


  10. lexiemom says:

    Sorry, Peg, but I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. Those in charge of the dead are those who are considered trustworthy, comforting in sorrow, and almost holy. You’re right nobody wants a “hot” or “risque” soul in which to confide when they’ve lost their loved one. They want someone who can empathize, who is tender & compassionate. Perhaps it was the pastor’s highest compliment to you that he asked you to fill this important position. The most important positions are rarely the most famous or glamorous.


    • pegoleg says:

      Jeez, I never considered that I would be in charge of the dead – just the checkbook. And you’re so right that the most important positions are rarely glamorous. That’s just unfair!


  11. brennagrimes says:

    This is hilarious! Good luck with the new job.


  12. Sandy Sue says:

    Crypt Keeper? Wayyyy cool! You can be pale and smoldering in your “Twilight” sparkle, blood-red lipstick promising more than a kiss, with just a whiff of the grave about you. Oops. That was probably kitty litter. Sorry.


  13. If you really screw it up, will they replace you? I’m thinking maybe leasing some vendor rights to a hot dog cart or something. Nothing too terribly pagan, of course.


    • pegoleg says:

      I’m going to suggest we go with a Monty Python theme to save money. Instead of all this funeral/casket business, we’ll hire a guy with a cart to roll through town yelling “Bring out your dead!”


  14. gojulesgo says:

    Ha! Oh, Peg! They GOT YOU. Can you at least get away with a new Church Lady-level of self-righteousness? There’s got to be a trade-off for the cardigans besides a prime plot.

    P.S. – In brighter news – this post showed up in my WordPress reader! Yayyyy!!


  15. Lenore Diane says:

    Peg, you are living the storybook life. “Experiencing Life’s Certainties.” As you are Queen of Death and Taxes. Rock on!


  16. pattisj says:

    Oh, the stories you will have to tell of this grand adventure!


  17. Laura says:

    If you want to get out of this, you should probably just start asking questions about the details of the job, like “what percentage of the budget do we normally spend on booze?” or “do I get to keep anything I dig up?”.


  18. Spectra says:

    Think of the side money you can earn selling rotty body parts to african voodoo priests. Just put an ad on Craigs list. You’ll find in no time at all you’ll be cruising the obituaries in search of fresh sources of revenue 😉


  19. Sara says:

    So sorry for your sentence as cemetery treasurer. How dare they dash your dreams of Paris in Springtime, or even beers on the back deck. Time is precious for a busy woman like you, but you’re so good you’ll never say no to doing God’s work. Or rather managing the finances for the place where they bury those who do God’s work. Thank you for confirming my decision to become a non-church-goer. 😉


  20. Scrappy had to come over to see what was up with me because I was laughing so hard. “Meet the new treasurer of the church cemetery board.” My God, I couldn’t stop laughing! You are one funny lady. Are you this funny in person?


    • pegoleg says:

      No. I’m a total pill in real life, which is why I have to have this blog. It’s kind of a safety valve for my alter-ego. 😉 (thanks Lorna – you’re a doll!)


  21. Al says:

    I wonder whatever could have prompted the minister to put you in charge of this somewhat macabre endeavor? Could it have been……..oh, I don’t know………S-A-T-A-N??!!


  22. Angie Z. says:

    Congratulations, Peg! This is so much better than when I got roped into editing the Lenten journals for my church. Put a bullet in my head and bury me at Easter that sucked. I bet you look great in compression hosiery.


  23. Mary Kay says:

    As usual your writing was very funny. Congrat’s on your new position. Couldn’t happen to a nicer church lady person!


  24. Elyse says:

    HIlarious post, Peg.

    But if I were you, I’d invest in a skull and bring it to meetings. You might be retired from the post a bit sooner than you thought!


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